By Chris McNulty
KILLYBEGS man Seamus Coleman has been handed a big chance to win over Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the European Championships.
The Everton player was named this morning in a 24-man squad that will face Czech Republic in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium later this month – but the former Sligo Rovers flyer is in a race against time to be fit.
The game with the Czechs takes place on Wednesday 29th February and Coleman remains sidelined with a thigh injury that has troubled him for a large chunk of this season.
The right-sided player, who has four caps to his name, is in a battle to get a place on the plane for the summer’s European Championships in Poland and this friendly represents the last chance for players like Coleman to shine.
Trapattoni has already confirmed that his 23-man squad for the finals will be announced in advance of the next friendly – against Bosnia Herzegovina on May 26th – so the eager Coleman will hope to be in line to face the Czech Republic this month.
The thrice-capped James McCarthy, who has strong family connections in Annagry, is also named and, like Coleman, is one of those on the fringes who needs an impressive showing in this international camp.
Record cap holder, Liffordman Shay Given, will also face the Czechs, but there is no place for Derryman James McClean, despite his recent stirring performances for Sunderland.
The players international clearance papers were said to have been approved by FIFA last evening, but Trapattoni has resisted temptation to include the player – instead saying he has spoken to the player and will include him in his plans after the European Championships.
Speaking this morning, Trapattoni said of the Czech Republic game: “This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations.
“As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification.
“The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain. This game is vital in helping us choose our 23 player squad for May. We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months.”
Ireland are next in action on May 26th, against Bosnia, a day before they fly to a training camp in Montecatini, Italy. They will face Hungary in Budapest on June 4th, before transferring to their UEFA 2012 training camp in the Polish city, Gdynia.
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